Welcome to the place where I rant, rave and discuss books, writing, the town of Cobourg Ontario and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Heather Knight-Owens pt 1

I sat hunched on the hard metal bench of my cell, trying to shrink myself into invisibility. This process wasn’t unusual for me; I had been quite successful at it numerous times as a child. If I concentrated real hard, and thought myself very small, I would go unnoticed. I could tuck myself into the corner of a room and watch my parents scream and hit each other, using words I wasn’t allowed to hear, and neither of them would so much as glance my way. Not even the police saw me hunched beside our faded green couch the night my mom shot my father. I was convinced my super powers kept me undetected in those days. Now I wished I could call upon them again. I wrung my hands together, three times clockwise, three times counter-clockwise, over and over trying to remember the perfect combination for the spell.

The three other women in the cell had street trash written all over them. Their talk was tough, their attitudes tougher. I studied my shoes desperately as the biggest one of them walked over to me. “Whatchyou do to wind up here? You don’t be lookin like no hoe.” She cackled as she taunted me, her friends joining in on her fun.

It was a good question, and a good point. My Armani suit gave away my lack of street sense, that one was easy. But her question ran a little deeper as I thought about what had brought me here. Where did it begin? Was it the murderous rage in my mother’s eyes that night so many years ago? It was possible. I despised her for the better part of my early life. She had torn my world apart in a single act that I hadn’t truly understood. But I understood now. I understood all too well. Allowing pain and fear to ferment was the perfect recipe for one thing: hatred. Unadulterated, poisonous hatred.

We had been married nearly four months the first time he’d hit me. I had gone for a brisk walk around the block, which had become a habit for me since Eddie had been away on business. As I turned the corner back onto our street I could see his black Porsche shining in the driveway. His flight must have come in early and I was brimming with excitement to have him home. I ran my finger lovingly along the smooth lines of the car before bouncing up the steps to our front door. I locked up behind me in preparation for a very satisfying welcome-home celebration. With a sly smile on my face I sauntered into the kitchen to greet him. I was greeted with a fist to the face instead. I went flying across the room and fell hard on the cold marble flooring. My first instinct was to call out to Eddie, it took a moment before I realized he was the one who had hit me. I was sure it was some sort of mistake; perhaps he thought I was an intruder. After a lengthy beating and three days in the hospital, I realized it was I who had made the mistake.

It took seventeen days for me to recuperate. Eddie watched over me, changed my dressings and brought me fresh flowers everyday. He started off with apologies and grand gestures. When I didn’t react, he began blaming me for his outburst. What else was he supposed to think when he came back from a business trip to find his wife not at home? Of course he assumed I was out whoring around with some other man. When the blame game didn’t work either, he tried tears. The words may have been different, but it was the same old song, my father’s song. Seventeen days is a long time to think, and I took advantage of every second I had to ponder how I’d gotten here. With every day, every kiss, every sweet word from my husbands mouth, I forgave my mother more and more.

I lifted my gaze slowly from my shoes to meet the hooker's glare. I can’t say what it was in my eyes, or face, that caused her to back away from me like a predator turned prey. I scoffed at the scorpion tattoo crawling up her leg as she retreated. Her friends fell silent as well and they all stared at me. The air was thick with tension, I could feel it. But I no longer worried about my powers of invisibility; I was discovering a new power. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I liked it.

A guard interrupted our little showdown, “Missus Owens, your lawyer is here to see you.”

I stood up slowly and flattened out my suit with the palm of my hands. In a voice that was foreign to even myself, I answered the tart’s question. “Murder." I said. "It runs in the family.”

1 comment:

  1. I liked it. Your story was appropriately taught, tense, gritty. It felt just right.